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Choosing a Deliverable Format

Our goal (perhaps “ideal” is a better word) is to have our screencast viewable across all desktop and mobile platforms.

Your organization may have a requirement for you to produce your screencast using a specific container with specific audio and video codecs; in this case, you really don’t have much say in the matter.

In my experience, you’ll get the widest variety of compatibility by publishing your screencasts using one or both of the following container formats:

  • Flash Video (.flv)
  • MPEG-4 (.mp4)

Of course, we all know that Adobe Flash will not play on Apple mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. For those formats, we can produce to MP4. For all other desktop and mobile platforms, we should be just fine by publishing to FLV.

Different screencast editing software packages have different production options. You may want to embed your screencast file within an HTML “wrapper” page. By contrast, you may want to compile your screencast into an executable Adobe Flash Projector file. The bottom line here is that we want to keep our audience in mind and publish as broadly as possible.

Final Destination

Specifically, where do you plan to host your screencast movies? As previously stated, if your destination is the corporate intranet or Internet public website, then you should simply follow your departmental standards and be done with it.

However, if you are publishing your screencasts on your own behalf, you have some additional options that are available to you.

Self-hosting means that you manually publish your screencast files to your own website. I have had good experience with using Go Daddy as a web host. The advantage to this approach is that you have maximum flexibility because you own the site. By contrast, the chief disadvantage of self-hosting is that this requires a greater skill level on the part of the screencaster (you will need to understand HTML, FTP, etc.).

Several companies have built successful business models on offering screencast hosting services. Besides the big public sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, we have sites dedicated to screencasting proper; my personal favorite is TechSmith’s own Screencast.com.

Please undertake due diligence and perform research to determine whether a screencast hosting service is right for you, and which service can meet or exceed your publishing requirements.

Conclusion

If you have worked through all three articles in this series, then I am confident that you have a well-rounded picture of what it takes to produce a quality screencast. Your biggest challenge now is to plan what is to be your next presentation topic! Thanks for reading, and please be sure to leave feedback in the Comments portion of this page.

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